Scam Awareness Day is Nov. 18, and Scam Awareness Week is Nov. 16-20.

Scammers have developed new tactics that use the pandemic to their advantage, including:

• Calling from a phone number different from a utility’s, instead of “spoofing” a number to look like it is the utility, and stating the number is different because they are working from home.

• Demanding immediate payment of a deposit for a payment arrangement, rather than payment in full.

• Seeking payment through money transfer apps like Zelle, instead of prepaid cards, so customers can avoid COVID risk by not having to visit a retailer to purchase a card.

In all cases, scammers threaten immediate disconnection if payment is not made. Remember the following if you have any reason to believe you have been targeted by a scam:

• IREA does not call customers to demand immediate payment.

• Our disconnect notification calls are automated and instruct customers to contact us directly at (800) 332-9540 to make payment.

• We send mailed or electronic notice prior to disconnection.

If in doubt, hang up and call IREA at (800) 332-9540. We can confirm your account status and any payment due. Visit www.IREA.coop/scams for additional info on common utility scams and how to avoid them.